Teen Activist Arden Pala Wins Sodexo Grant and Partners with Starbucks to Combat Childhood Hunger

San Diego, CA, February 27, 2024 – Arden Pala, a dedicated 9th-grade student at Francis Parker School, is making remarkable headway in the battle against childhood hunger through his non-profit organization, Sports4Kids. The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has recognized Arden’s commitment by awarding him a Youth Grant through Youth Service America (YSA), which supports his leadership in orchestrating his “Healthy Champions” project. This initiative is poised to address the pressing issue of food insecurity that currently affects approximately 1 in 6 children within San Diego, a statistic that underscores the importance of his work against this widespread challenge.

The San Diego Hunger Coalition reports that the problem of food insecurity in the area has escalated, with around 250,000 children at risk of hunger, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic’s lingering impacts. Through Sports4Kids, Arden’s project aims to provide relief to these vulnerable groups. In a strategic partnership with Starbucks, Arden has facilitated the setup of collection boxes for non-perishable food donations in 20 local Starbucks stores. This effort is in anticipation of Youth Service Day and intends to rally the community together to support the children in need.

Sports4Kids, founded by Arden Pala, focuses on harnessing the power of sports to foster health, education, and well-being among children, especially those facing hunger. The non-profit believes in the transformative power of community sports to instill values of teamwork, perseverance, and fair play, while also addressing critical social issues like child nutrition and health.

Arden’s project will come to fruition during pivotal times for youth and community service, including Global Youth Service Day from April 26-28. The project not only aims to raise awareness about childhood hunger but also to actively involve the youth in service and advocacy to create tangible change.

“The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation is committed to identifying, investing in and scaling innovative, youth-designed and youth-led solutions to childhood hunger,”

explained Joan Rector McGlockton, Chairperson, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation and Associate General Counsel, Corporate Affairs & Litigation. “I am humbled by the quality and volume of applications we receive each year,” said Roxanne Moore, Executive Director, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation. “Helping and supporting these youth grantees – ordinary people that make themselves extraordinary – brings the Stop Hunger Foundation closer to its objective of working toward zero hunger in the U.S. By investing in their efforts on GYSD, we hope to ignite the passion in other young people to join the fight against child hunger”.

In light of his achievements and the launch of his latest humanitarian project, Arden shared his thoughts:

“It’s more than just a meal; it’s about giving hope and nourishment to dreams. With the ‘Healthy Champions’ project, Sports4Kids is committed to not only filling stomachs but also empowering young minds to thrive. We believe that every child deserves the chance to play, learn, and grow without the burden of hunger. This grant and our partnership with Starbucks are catalysts for change, sparking a movement of youth-led solutions to end childhood hunger in our San Diego community.”

Arden Pala’s philanthropic journey through Sports4Kids, his academic excellence, and his initiative with Starbucks spotlight his vision and determination to make a difference in the world—one child and one meal at a time.

Youth Service America (YSA) believes that youth, communities and democracy thrive when we all work together for the common good. YSA is a leading global nonprofit that activates young people, ages 5-25, to find their voice, take action, and acquire powerful civic and 21st Century skills as they solve problems facing their communities. YSA supports its activation campaigns – including September 11th National Day of Service & Remembrance, MLK Day of Service, and Global Youth Service Day – with grants, training and resources, and recognition programs for young people and their adult champions. Youth-led projects use Awareness, Service, Advocacy, and Philanthropy (ASAP) strategies to create social and environmental change. For more information, visit

The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation works with and through partners to help end childhood hunger in the United States because no child should be hungry today or risk being hungry again tomorrow. Sodexo, Inc., which funds all administrative costs, and the nonprofit Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, mobilize experts, innovators, volunteers and donors to feed children; to advocate for policies to end childhood hunger; and to implement innovative potential solutions, particularly those designed by youth. For more information, visit and

Sports4Kids’s mission is to allow youth volunteers to better the lives of the low-income and homeless through athletics and community engagement. Through various volunteer opportunities tailored for children of all ages, the organization actively engages in initiatives dedicated to making a positive impact, including feeding the homeless, supplying back-to-school backpacks to financially needy families, and offering support through care packages for individuals without homes. The organization also provides opportunities for all low-income youth to play sports while building physical and social skills that will serve them for a lifetime.